“We exist”, gays say in message to Pope Francis in Panama

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01/26/2019

A long and tender kiss between two women in downtown Panama on Friday was a quiet but symbolic message from the LGBT community to the visiting Pope Francis: “We exist!” Samirah Armengol and her friend Basch Beitia were staging a “kiss-in” with friends in front of landmark Catholic church to draw attention to gay rights during the pope’s visit. “They say it’s disrespectful that we kiss in front of a church, but I ask them a question: Why is it not disrespectful when heterosexuals do it? Is it that I am an aberration? We exist!” Armengol, 39, told AFP. Around 20 protesters around her shouted “Love is love. Love is love!” many of them kissing outside the huge Del Carmen church, symbolic for Panamanians as a gathering point for protests against 1980s dictator Manuel Noriega.

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